Editorial: Kudos to WB golf teams
Op-Ed · June 21, 2013

Congratulations to the West Branch High School Bears golf teams for the past season, with both the boys and girls teams finishing with winning records, and the first girl golfer to qualify for state in 15 years.

Head Coach Jan OíNeil and the girls golf team saw one of the teamís most successful years in OíNeilís career, finishing the season regular season with only one loss. Itís second loss came during the Cedar Valley Conference meet, where the Bears fell to rival Mid-Prairie to finish second among eight teams.

Junior Ashley Finnegan and senior Kristen Budreau would both earn First-Team All-Conference honors and senior Paige Donohoe, only out for her first year, would earn a spot on the CVCís Second Team.

The girls golf team also had a deep roster, with many playing varsity roles over the course of the season and still maintaining a nearly undefeated record.

We thought the Bears had the momentum to carry them through sectionals, but they finished third at Wahkonsa. However, Finneganís fourth place in the individual contest allowed her to continue on to regionals. There, she finished fourth again, and the Top Five status gave her the chance to represent West Branch at the state tournament in Marshalltown.

In the boys golf division, the Bears found themselves among a very tight race in the conference.

The teams were very closely matched, and Head Coach Randy Sexton noted that West Branch had beaten every team in the conference at least once over the season. That ratchets up the pressure on the players because one or two bad holes could easily cost your team the meet. Yet, the fact that the Bears finished the season with more wins than losses showed they were able to maintain their composure better than most.

And they did it with a fairly young team, as there were only five seniors on the team and only two of them consistently performing for the varsity squad. That meant juniors and sophomores frequented the Top Six positions to help the team finish strong. One of those is Matt McIlrath, a sophomore who stepped up and earned a spot on Second-Team All Conference, the highest honor bestowed on an individual Bear on the boys team this season.

Of course, when we see our teams regularly performing so well each season, we must acknowledge and compliment the members of the coaching staff who, through their commitments of time and expertise, help draw out the talent and skills that allow the teams to have such success.

So thank you to the Bears for another wonderful year on the golf course, and congratulations on your achievements in 2013.

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